Image-Battered Soccer Body Sends Woman to FIFA Executive Board

Sonia Bien-Aime was elected to FIFA’s executive committee, making her the first woman to take a seat on the board that isn’t reserved for a female.

Turks and Caicos soccer federation President Bien-Aime joins Burundi’s Lydia Nsekera on the 25-member executive committee, which is restructuring after members were indicted for corruption by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Nsekera joined the executive committee in 2012 after FIFA added a seat that can only be held by a woman. Bien-Aime is also on the board of Concacaf, which governs soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

“Sonia has demonstrated her significant leadership as a member of the Concacaf executive committee, and will bring a diverse and fresh perspective to FIFA on how to promote and advance the game around the world,” said Alfredo Hawit, who was named acting president of Concacaf following the arrest of Jeffrey Webb in May.

Bien-Aime will replace Webb, a former Cayman Islands banker, at FIFA. She joins Hawit and U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati as Concacaf’s representatives. As a member of the executive committee, Bien-Aime is entitled to an annual stipend of $300,000 and benefits including paid first-class air travel and hotel accommodation.

“My goal is to represent the best interest of the confederation, while contributing to the objectives of FIFA as we all take collective strides to develop and grow the game that we love,” said Bien-Aime.

Corruption Testimony

Bien-Aime provided testimony in 2011 about a meeting organized by former Concacaf head Jack Warner where envelopes stuffed with cash were handed out before that year’s FIFA presidential election. Warner, who quit soccer before FIFA finished an internal investigation, has been charged in the U.S. indictment.

Concacaf on July 6 said it will reorganize in an effort to restore a reputation that has been battered by two corruption scandals in less than four years.

FIFA’s executive committee will decide the date for the election to replace President Sepp Blatter when it next meets on July 20. Blatter said he would step down four days after he won a fifth term on May 29.

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